A Handbook of Protocols for Literary Listening, ed. Craig Dworkin (2012): pdf
download pamphlet from EPC Digital Library: pdf
— Roland Barthes
A survey, in some ways, always looks to vision. Etymologically, the word derives from the Latin super [over] + videre [to see], literally: to look upon, to look over (though not, of course, to overlook). But we might re-imagine a survey as a process of listening — as a kind of “overhearing” — transferring the survey’s modes of attention to the aural realm. Such a practice would thus listen both broadly and closely, with comprehensive scope and statistical depth. As a practice of listening, one might redefine survey accordingly: to formally examine the sonic condition; to map the contours of sound; to hear in detail; to inspect the audible; to explore acoustically.
A survey, as the Oxford English Dictionary in fact has it, also denotes a “literary examination.” And indeed, some of the most innovative listening has been done by poets. The following handbook catalogues a repertoire of techniques for literary listening. It seeks to identify some of the specific tools with which poets have gauged and transformed the sonic effects of their linguistic environment. Suggestive rather than exhaustive, this guide is not an encyclopedia of practices. Indeed, the hope is that it will serve as a reminder of other examples, an inspiration for further writing, a provocation to further listening, and a locus of surprise (a word which derives in turn from the French surprendre: to overhear).
Please listen carefully.